Free service helps families find the right place for mom

It's one of the most important decisions you can make for a parent or grandparent: finding a place for them to live when they can't live alone.

But it can also be one of the most difficult decisions you can make, especially if you are under pressure and dealing with financial constraints.

That's why "A Place for Mom" for started ten years ago and continues to grow every year.  Since 2009, the number of clients has spiked 30-percent.

The free consulting service has counselors across the country.  Their job is to help families understand their options.  Should their parent go into independent living, assisted living or a nursing home?  What kind of questions should they be asking?  What should they expect to pay a month?

"Most of the families we talk to are dealing with insurance terminology and hospital terminology on top of their own responsibility of family and work (and now) they're having to deal with this next step of trying to determine the levels of care, what is the best fit... Our service provides that education.  I spend the majority of my day educating people," said Pam Siedler an Eldercare Adviser with A Place for Mom.

Pam makes sure to explain the differences between several types of care:

Independent Living is for people who can still drive and take care of themselves.  It's a good option for people looking to downsize and who can't handle taking care of a house anymore.  It also gives people a range of activities and meals if they choose.  The cost runs between $1,200 and $2,500 per month.

Assisted Living is for people who need 24-hour care and three meals a day.  It's a good option for people who need help managing their medications and help bathing.  The cost runs between $2,500 and $5,000 a month.

Nursing Homes or Skilled Nursing - is for people who need a high level of care around the clock.  It's the best option for people who are disabled, in a wheelchair or on dialysis.  The cost is typically $5,000 and up a month.

In Home Care - is for people who don't want to move out of their home but need someone to cook, clean, run errands, help them bathe and manage their medications.  Depending where you live, part of that care can be covered by the state.

Families who can't afford any of the above options can look into VA or Mason benefits. 

Those who think they are eligible for Medicaid will have to wait 45-60 days for approval.  But their choices are limited.  There are very few Assisted Living places that accept Medicaid in the KC metro.  The majority of Nursing Homes accept it, but only if you agree to live in a shared room environment.

After A Place for Mom helps you figure out what kind of community is best for your parent, a counselor will contact their partner communities and set up several appointments/tours.  A counselor will also give you a set of questions so you know who is going to be taking care of your parent, what their background is and ultimately whether you will feel comfortable with them or not.

A Place for Mom does not charge families. Instead, communities pay the company a referral fee.

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